Our Voice: The struggle continues
In spite of North Carolina being the only battleground state not to vote for him this election, President Barack Obama ran the table Tuesday evening, and made history by becoming the only AfricanAmerican in history to be re-elected president of the United States.
That was good news.
Democratic incumbents on the NC Council of State all won re-election.
So based on those few triumphs, Election Day 2012 had its moments.
But there were outrages.
District 18 State House Rep. Susi Hamilton, who represents parts of New Hanover and Pender counties, won re-election, and then immediately vowed to work for tax reform in the Republican-controlled NC General Assembly.
“Tax reform” for whom, may we ask? Hamilton’s district has a significant poor and black population. This newspaper has been in this district for well over 80 years, and it is a certainly that we’ve never reported on the black community demanding tax reform.
So where is Hamilton getting her marching orders from?
Apparently from business interests who mean more to Rep. Hamilton than the majority of her constituencies.
That means she isn’t serving, or advocating for the people who need her representation the most.
And you wondered why The Journal wouldn’t endorse Hamilton for re-election.
And then there’s the debacle that is the New Hanover County Board of Education.
Thanks to Tuesday’s election returns, all seven seats on the NHC School Board will now be inhabited by seven Republicans. No Democrats, no African-Americans, and ultimately, no representation on a board that promises to continue to ignore the vital needs of our children.
That means it is incumbent on our community to show up at school board meetings, and speak loudly, clearly and persistently about our issues, challenging this GOP school board to govern and deliberate in a fair and inclusive fashion. We must be ever vigilant about what policies are being discussed (cause Lord knows there will be no debate with these GOP’ers), and how they will ultimate affect our children.
We have to be prepared to demand our rightful share of resources for the schools that our children are assigned to attend. Beyond that, we must demand the highest quality of teachers be assigned to those schools, and that stronger efforts be mounted to attract the best black teachers to come to work in the NHC Public School System.
Keeping a sharp eye on the new, GOP-dominated school board will take a lot of work. We must be as knowledgeable of the critical issues facing our school system as board members are, and develop strategies to weigh-in when the time for public input is at hand.
Until such time that we can once again elect members who directly represent us, we all must be fully engaged to challenge a NHC School Board that will be arguably working against our interests.
In the tight Congressional District 7 race between Cong. Mike McIntyre and Republican challenger state Sen. David Rouzer, in which McIntyre is less than 600 votes ahead of Rouzer at press time Wednesday, we’re going to just have to wait to see if Rouzer asks for an official recount once all of the absentee and provisional ballots have been counted.
Rep. McIntyre may be a blue dog Democrat, but overall he has served our community well, and we wouldn’t want to lose his leadership.
In the Lt. Governor’s race between Democrat Linda Coleman and Tea Party Republican Dan Forrest, just over 11,000 votes separate the two with Forrest in the lead. He has already claimed victory, even though Coleman, an African-American, will not concede the race until all of the ballots are counted.
If Coleman could somehow overcome those 11,000 votes, she would be a tremendous asset in representing our interests in the new Gov. Pat McCrory administration. Coleman’s voice would definitely be buttressed by the Democratic votes that obviously went to Republican McCrory, assuring his victory Tuesday night.
Indeed, as of January 1, we will have a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled state Legislature. That means there will be laws passed that will further hurt education, cut funding to social services, and limit the basic right of voting.
With the GOP-leaning redistricting maps assuring Republican dominance in the General Assembly for at least the next ten years, that means there will be a constant struggle by our community for what is right, and what is just.
Are you ready, willing and able, community?